The Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback is saying all the right things when it comes to talking about rookie signal caller Blaine Gabbert, Jacksonville’s first-round selection and future of the franchise.
Garrard is a dead man walking in Jacksonville and he knows it.
The team’s fan base and assuming the Jaguars’ front office wants Gabbert to take over for the incumbent quarterback as soon as possible, but Garrard is not falling into the trap that so often comes when a veteran must hand over the reins to a youngster.
"My thing is the best man will play,” Garrard told the Florida Times-Union. “The cream will rise to the top. All those different sayings. That's true, you want the best person out there on the field. To give the team the best chance. That's what I believe. If it's not me, then it's just not me. If Blaine comes in and he is above and beyond just better than me then best of luck to him. Because the best person who is going to give this team a chance to win should be out there. I've always believed that. I'm going to work my tail off to make sure that it's me. I'm sure he'll be working hard as well. There's nothing but just healthy competition."
Garrard’s grace in handling the situation is commendable. Even if he’s just paying lip service, it’s still the right move.
Okay, now that the niceties are out of the way, time to cut to the core of Garrard’s quote.
Sure the 33-year-old vet is being classy but this seems more like an act of someone frantically tugging on the backup parachute after plunging from a plane as opposed to a gentleman holding the door open for a an elderly lady.
Simply put: Garrard is bracing himself for the time when Gabbert takes over as the starting quarterback. It’s an inevitability and the only control that Garrard has on the matter is how he handles it. Just go back to his quote. It is littered with beat-around-the-bush jargon like “[i]f it’s not me, then it’s just not me.” In what conceivable world does a quarterback who struggled at times but was at least not atrocious really act this concerned about a rookie taking his job? The answer: one who knows he has already likely lost the job.
Garrard could enter training camp in great shape and look the part of All-Pro QB, but that would likely only give him a stay of execution. Heck, there’s the distinct possibility that Jags’ front office has already Garrard is because he is owed almost $8 million this season.
The Jaguars have a capable backup/part-time starter in Luke McCown, who costs significantly less than Garrard, so it’s feasible for Jacksonville to keep him and let Garrard go. And if that happens, at least Garrard went out with at least a little dignity. That has to count for something….doesn’t it?
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